FPL Group is suing the state of Maryland and its public service commission (PSC) to hasten consideration of its pending merger with Constellation Energy Group.
A series of legal disputes over legislation (SB1) passed by Maryland lawmakers this summer preceded the Oct. 4 filing by FPL.
In July, the companies filed a new merger application at the PSC “that addresses the new statutory standards” of SB1 passed by Maryland lawmakers earlier this summer.
But in its lawsuit, FPL said that if one portion of SB1 remains in effect, notwithstanding a court of appeals ruling regarding two other sections of SB1, FPL “has no means available to have the public service commission issue a final ruling on the merger. The merger will be placed in legal limbo, from which there is no escape. The practical effect is that the merger would be denied.”
Under the FPL-Constellation merger agreement, either party can terminate the pact if all regulatory approvals are not in hand by June 30, 2007. Thus, if the companies don’t obtain PSC approval by that date, the deal can be called off.
The current procedural schedule at the commission provides for hearings in November and January and for a PSC decision in February.
“Without prompt action by this court, however, the public service commission, lacking any guidance as to whether it has authority to take final action on the merger, could decide in the interests of efficient use of the agency’s resources to delay or dismiss the application for approval of the merger,” the filing said.
If the commission were to dismiss the merger application, “it would have to be refiled at some point in the future after FPL Group prevails on the merits of this complaint. At that point, it would not be possible to complete the lengthy hearing process prior to the termination date in the merger agreement.”
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